Movie of the Week: Shallow Grave (1994)

Danny Boyle directs Ewan McGregor, Christopher Eccleston and Kerry Fox in this Scottish thriller about flatmates who discover a bag full of money in their spare room… and a corpse.

1994 – My sister came back from a late night showing of Shallow Grave and spent a morning regaling the entire family in our kitchen about its gory shocks. I wasn’t old enough to go see it in all its 18 certificate glory then but I was already in love. Boyle is fantastic at injecting energy into potentially tired early set-ups, making the fantastical have the ring of everyday truth, framing the unpleasant to maximise the nastiness and turning little knowns into bonafide movie stars. McGregor, Eccleston, Fox, Peter Mullan and Ken Stott all impress with quirky, often inscrutably magnetic, performances. And whether Shallow Grave assaults your ethical sensibilities or your stomach lining it plays out as an absolutely unhinged Hitchcockian carve-up. Trainspotting just about pips their debut to the post as McGregor or Boyle’s best but their breakthrough is still the taut stuff of nightmares. If you want a lesson in dark cinematic tension this has matured marvellously. Full bodied thrills.

10

Check out my wife Natalie’s Horror blog https://cornsyrup.co.uk

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/

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